Henry W. Coe

Park Brochure

brochure Henry W. Coe - Park Brochure
Our Mission Henry W. Coe State Park The mission of the California Department of Parks and Recreation is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. This magnificent park greets visitors with miles of trails and many small lakes, ponds and seasonal creeks to lighten California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (408) 779-2728. This publication is available in alternate formats by contacting: CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P. O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Discover the many states of California.TM Henry W. Coe State Park 9000 East Dunne Avenue Morgan Hill, CA 95037 (408) 779-2728 © 2009 California State Parks Printed on Recycled Paper their path. B arely an hour’s winter, seasonal creeks drive southeast of can overflow and San Jose, Henry become dangerously W. Coe State impassable. Spring Park protects and fall are the and preserves most temperate and 87,000 acres of enjoyable times to scenic hills and visit. Prepare for the mountain ridges. variable climate and This wild, largely rugged landscape by Scenic hill and mountain ridge views undeveloped dressing in layers. park welcomes PARK HISTORY backpackers, equestrians, mountain bikers, Native People day-hikers, and anyone seeking solitude in a The indigenous people in this area probably nearly untouched setting. Part of the Diablo included the Ohlone and the Northern Range, the park is an amalgam of high ridges, Valley Yokuts. At the time of European plateaus, and both narrow and open valleys. contact, Ohlone territory extended from After a rainy winter, wildflowers bloom in San Francisco Bay south to the Carmel profusion from February through March; by Valley area, and east into the Diablo April the color is rampant. The landscape Range. The lower San Joaquin River and its is rich with blue lupine and orange-yellow tributaries formed the core of the Northern California poppies, bright yellow gold fields Yokuts homeland. The semi-permanent and delicate baby blue eyes. Mariposa watercourses on the east side of the lilies, larkspur, blue dicks and Ithuriel’s Diablo Range were sparsely inhabited. The spear show themselves in late April and native people were semi-nomadic, moving May. The variety and richness of the flora seasonally to harvest acorns, seeds, berries, attract visitors from miles around. roots and other foods vital to their diet. They Hot, dry summers bring highs above 90, hunted, fished, and periodically set fires cooling to the 50s at night. Hikers should to increase yields of certain plants, such carry—and drink—plenty of water, even as grass and seeds, and to maintain forage on less-strenuous trails. Winter is wet, with plants to attract game. highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. In With the arrival of the Spanish, the Ohlone were recruited into the missions, ending their way of life. As native populations near the coastal missions dwindled, missionaries gathered converts from farther inland, reaching into the Diablo Range and ultimately the San Joaquin Valley. The strenuous mission routines, which were completely foreign to the native people’s way of life, took a heavy toll on them. Unable to fight off new diseases brought by the Europeans, the native population was nearly decimated. In 1834, when the Mexican government ordered the missions secularized, the promise to return the lands to the remaining mission Indians was not honored. Native people, now displaced from the missions and from their traditional homelands, were left to fend for themselves. Some found work on cattle ranches in the vicinity of today’s park, herding cattle and the wild mustangs that populated the Orestimba South Fork near Mustang Flat. Today, Ohlone descendants—including members of the Muwekma, Rumsen and Mutsun groups—are working toward federal recognition. THE COE LEGACY Pine Ridge Ranch New Hampshire native Henry W. Coe established the Willow Ranch in the Santa Clara Valley in 1858 rain, three seasonal Birdwatchers will find common birds and acquired the San watersheds—Coyote, such as turkey vultures, Steller’s jays, and Felipe Ranch in the Orestimba and Pacheco California quail, and noteworthy birds 1860s. This purchase creeks—can become like California thrashers and Lesser and brought Coe’s sons, whitewater torrents. Lawrence goldfinches. California king snakes Henry Jr. and Charles, Dozens of small lakes in and Pacific gopher snakes are harmless, but into the cattle ranching the park were created be wary of western rattlesnakes. business. In the late by former ranchers; Fire in the Park Coe Ranch Visitor Center entrance 1880s and 1890s, the Mississippi Lake is the In September 2007, a massive wildfire brothers acquired 6,000 acres in the Diablo largest at about 32 acres. burned more than half of the park. Called Range. The combined Coe lands became Vegetation the “Lick Fire” for its proximity to the Lick the Pine Ridge Ranch. By 1932 Pine Ridge Many of the park’s trees—giant live oaks, Observatory, it burned for eight days. Ranch was being managed by the daughter large stands of blue oaks, and coast and Fire experts describe this as a “mosaic” of Henry Jr., Sada Sutcliffe Coe Robinson, canyon live oaks—are native to the area. fire, meaning that damage was heavy in and her husband Charles. When Henry Jr. Gray pines are found throughout the park some areas, while other areas were barely died in 1943, Sada’s brother Henry inherited and the stately ponderosa touched. However, the seeds of the ranch. In 1949, a year after Henry sold pine dominates the western many plant species need fire, the land to an investor, Sada bought it back. ridges. Pacific madrone, western and some even need smoke, to She deeded the ranch to Santa Clara County Sycamore, California bay shock them into germination. to be used as a park in 1953. In 1958 the laurel and California buckeye Fire also clears out the highly county deeded the land to the State, which are plentiful. The beautiful, flammable “duff,” or debris that established Henry W. Coe State Park. rounded growth of big berry collects during non-fire years Land that now makes up Henry W. Coe manzanita can reach 20 feet in and poses fire danger during State Park was used for cattle grazing from height. Grasslands alternate the hot, dry summers. the 1880s into the 1960s by various cattle with chaparral on slopes, and ranchers. Still-existing roads, trails, ponds riparian vegetation is prolific Whispering Bells bloom in and fencing are among many features dating along the creeks. spring following a wildfire. back to this period in the park’s history. The Wildlife adjacent Gill-Mustang, Coit and Redfern The backcountry shelters mule deer and ranches were also acquired over the years. elk. Raptors look for small prey such as Henry W. Coe is Northern California’s largest mice and ground squirrels, while overhead state park. golden eagles soar, glinting in the sunlight. Mountain lions seek deer, raccoons, blackNATURAL HISTORY tailed jackrabbits and brush rabbits, while The park is a series of craggy ridges as bobcats, coyotes, and foxes seek many high as 3,560 feet, with deep canyons from smaller mammals. about 300 feet above sea level to 710 at the north fork of Pacheco Creek. During heavy Lick Fire aftermath Many wildfires have occurred at Coe during the park’s history, but the evidence of such fires may be hard to see even a year later. Intensely burned areas, trees or other species might take years to regenerate, while some grasses and shrubs may quickly recover. Both responses to the ravages of fire can benefit a variety of wildlife and increase biodiversity. The aftermath of the Lick Fire will provide valuable information on fire recovery for many years to come. RECREATION Camping—Headquarters Campground is near the top of Pine Ridge and the visitor center. Some sites have panoramic views; others are beneath shady oaks. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites not located beneath trees have shade ramadas. Considered primitive, the campground has piped spring water and nearby pit toilets, but no showers or hookups. Fires are allowed only in the fire rings in the campground; purchase firewood at the visitor center. Other supplies are not available in the park; the nearest town is Morgan Hill, 13 miles west of the park. For camping reservations, call 800-444-7275. First-come, first-served sites are often available; if no staff is at the gate, register and pay at the “iron ranger.” Day use—Coe Headquarters features early Pine Ridge Ranch buildings. The visitor center has ranching life exhibits, a bookstore, and a registration/information desk. Hunting Hollow is a self-registration entrance with access to the southwest part of the park. Dowdy Ranch offers access to the eastern part of the park and is open seasonally on weekends. Contact Coe Headquarters at (408) 779-2728 for information. Backcountry permits are required and are printed on the back of entry fee receipts. Fishing—Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and green sunfish is excellent, though none of the park’s lakes, streams or ponds can be reached by vehicle. Round-trip hikes can be 10 miles or more. Lakeside camping and fishing Gilroy Hot Springs was a place of healing. From the 1860s through the 1920s, the resort attracted San Francisco Bay area business leaders. In 1938, H.K. Sakata opened it as a respite for Japanese Horses—The and Japanese Americans backcountry provides to heal from the stress Poppies beautify the landscape. serene, peaceful rides of hard work and social and beautiful views. pressures. This State Historic Landmark is Longer trips or horse camping involve listed on the National Register of Historic rugged and steep terrain. Places. Call (408) 779-2728 to arrange a tour. Special Events—Many family-oriented Hiking/Mountain Biking—The park’s 250 walks, programs and events take place in miles of dirt roads and trails are in various spring, summer, and fall. See details listed states of development; a few are off-limits at http://www.parks.ca.gov to mountain bikes. Some are wide and ACCESSIBLE FEATURES relatively smooth; others are narrow and One campsite in Headquarters Campground rutted. Trails are generally well maintained, is accessible. For accessibility updates, call particularly near headquarters, and are well the park or visit http://access.parks.ca.gov signed. Call for trail conditions. Backpacking—The park has exceptional opportunities for backpackers. The Orestimba Wilderness is a very popular destination for multi-day trips. Water sources may be far apart, depending on the season. Inquire at the visitor center about which springs are running, and purify all water. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Fremont Peak State Park, San Juan Canyon Road, off of Hwy. 156, San Juan Bautista (831) 623-4526 • San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, in San Juan Bautista at 2nd and Washington Streets (831) 623-4881 This park receives support in part from a nonprofit organization. For more information contact: Pine Ridge Association 9100 East Dunne Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037 www.pineridgeassociation.org

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